by Bob Bekins
As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Can you imagine how Jesus felt, knowing all that He did. He created the world and all that was in it. He and the Father were together when the universe was fashioned, probably chatting in a spiritual way that you or I could not possibly understand. He had watched over the centuries as Jerusalem had become a beautiful city with huge public buildings designed by geniuses and of the finest stone and wood. How sad it must have been for Him to completely understand how far off the mark this wonderful city had gone from all God intended for it. Jesus, as a man, probably thought, “Why?”
The only roughly-similar parallel I can see to grasp a little of what Jesus felt is when one of our children has gone wrong. There are so many ways this can happen including drug abuse, alcohol violence, hanging with the wrong people, shacking up with the “love of her life,” lying, cheating in business, deceitful actions to one’s spouse, ignoring his children, and so on. The list is endless. How sad to be aged and have the wisdom that comes from years of our own experiences, yet fail to pass it on successfully. We can tell them, as Jesus told all that would listen to Him, of these pitfalls and the results which will come from them. Until they have had their own experiences, it is a rare event for one of our children to grasp what we are telling them.
While in prison, John the Baptist questioned his persecution. He loved God and had done everything that had been required of him. I am sure he asked himself, “Why me?” Every truth-telling prophet has gone through some harassment. There are times in our lives when we, as good people, have asked the same question. At an advanced age we often wonder, “I have been through all of this, why aren’t my children and my grandchildren listening to my wisdom about such matters?”
Mother Teresa had a superb encounter with Jesus when she was 35. Then, nothing for the next fifty years. It left her depressed for a long, long time; only her confessor priests knowing about it. Here is what one of her sisters at the Missionaries of Charity had to say about that after Mother Teresa had passed away in 1995:
“Mother always told us: ‘God loves a cheerful giver. If you don’t go to the (poor) people with a cheerful face, you only increase their darkness and their misery and their sorrows.’ So Mother had the spiritual joy…. It is overwhelming for us to think how Mother could continue with a pleasant countenance and with such single-mindedness to cling to Jesus her one and only love, without her letting us ever know what she was going through.“
Cheerful giving is not just about finances. It is also about our time and our expressions. Even though we have questions, and despite not hearing an answer from The One whom we ask, we are to forge ahead on our mission. There are so many people that have no purpose in life. Having a reason to live should be enough to put an unquestioning smile on your face.